Friday, October 16, 2015

"Tidying Up"

You might have heard of the recent “Number One Best Seller”, the life-changing magic of tidying up by Marie “Konmarie” Condo.  I have been flipping through its pages in the bathroom, and since I have experienced difficulties in that department recently I have read more of it than I likely otherwise would have.  (Do not imagine I did not agonize over including this information.  If it is “TMI”, I sincerely apologize.)

Like most people, except the severely possession-deprived who wish dearly they were afflicted with this problem, I own way more stuff than I actually require.  (Is it necessary to reiterate that I have eleven belts?)  I am fearful of throwing anything away, concerned that the IRS might possibly want to look at it.  Although why the Internal Revenue Service would be interested in a threadbare Hawaiian sport shirt, I have absolutely no idea.  But I keep it anyway, just in case.  (Also, we go to Hawaii a lot.)

Underscoring her Asian descent, Ms. “Konmarie” Condo’s less than groundbreaking “how-to” book is distinguished by its sprinkling of Zen-like pronouncements on its chosen subject, accentuated in the text in bold typeface.

Two quotes from the book’s introduction:  (Otherwise, I would have to read the entire book and I don’t want to.)

“… when you put your house in order, you put your affairs and your past in order, too.”


“They (the successful tidier-uppers) are surrounded only by the things they love.”

Ah so.

Although marginally interested in the book’s subject matter, I have assiduously appropriated its concept.  Not in relation to concentrating my possessions.  (Evidenced by the fact that, although I have repeatedly promised that when I buy something new I will toss its older counterpart onto the “giveaway pile”, I now possess more than thirty pair of ankle-length sweat socks.)

The area to which I have applied Ms. “Konmarie” Kondo’s tidying-up philosophy is instead my longstanding television viewing habits.  Quoting Ms. “Konmarie” Condo, though in an alternate context, I now evaluate every program I tune into with this determinative question: 

“Does this (TV show) spark joy?”

Jettisoning, as with extraneous possessions, every program that once captured my enthusiasm but upon careful consideration no longer does.  Why did I continue watching those shows after the thrill had long ago disappeared?

Anchoring habit and crippling inertia. 

I have attempted to alter my viewing habits before.  However, having looked Legionnaires’ Disease in the face and emerged victorious, I am now prepared for a revitalized commitment.


No more Law & Order:  SVU.  I am done with stories of degradation and abuse.  Come to think of it, SVU never sparked “joy”.  It perplexes me why I was ever drawn to it in the first place.   (I liked the characters and the actors who played them.)  All I can tell you is, now that I am liberated of binge-watching sagas of rape and sexual molestation, I feel lighter, reinvigorated, and unburdened, paralleling, I imagine, Ms. Kondo’s neophyte tidy-uppers feelings when they let go of their decades-old credit card statements.

What else have I dumped from my viewing agenda?


A tough call during “Election Season.”  Although, in America, when is it not “Election Season”?

I summarily abandoned MSNBC because I feel the opposite of enriched by a daily diet of partisan acrimony.  So “Be gone, political adversarialism!”  Even on the Left.  Who may end up deriding Donald Trump into the highest office in the land.

I continue to watch C-SPAN, which is considerably more even-handed.  And they recently inaugurated an educational series discussing a series of landmark decisions by the Supreme Court, which, for me, is like Christmas come early.  Or, more accurately, Chanukah.  Although come to think of it, Chanukah is early this year.  So get crackin’, Jewish shoppers!

Viewing deletion Number Three:


I know football offers flashes of “grace under fire” perfection, because that’s football. (I flipped over recently for a momentary “football fix” and I immediately saw a quarterback lofting a perfectly thrown spiral, looping over the defender’s outstretched fingers and landing softly in the receiver’s hands.  That was so exhilarating, so…

“Steady on, Earlo.”  

Thank you. 

I’m better now.

I am no longer willing to be a de facto facilitator for Alzheimer’s-triggering concussions and orthopedic debilitation.  So no more Sunday football!  Or Monday night.  Or Thursday evening.  (Momentarily digressing but what does it say about network programming when four of the top-ten rated television broadcasts are football?) 

Having given up on three sources of erstwhile regular viewing entertainment, I feel noticeably relieved, reinvigorated and refreshed.  (Quoting “Tidying Up” one final time, “It’s a very strange phenomenon, but when we…essentially ‘detox’ our house {or in my case, my viewing preferences} it has a detox effect on our bodies as well.”)

Thank you, Ms. “Konmarie” Kondo, for your book, and its tangential encouragement.  And goodbye atrocity-grounded police procedurals, cable news gamesmanship and player-devastating football.  (Until Los Angeles gets its own team.  And it looks like we might!)

The obvious follow-up question is, what am I doing with my now available free time?  Am I reading more?  Have I discovered a new hobby?  Am I studying the Torah?

Truth be told, I am currently watching more baseball.  But when the baseball season is over, look out!

(Unless I slide back, my track record in this regard being hardly encouraging, so you might want to stay tuned.  Unless you are tidying away from yours truly.  In which case, hasta la vista.)

1 comment:

Brian Fies said...

Good post, good philosophy. It never hurts to ask yourself "Why am I doing this?" once in a while.

Lately I've been applying a similar idea to food. I can only consume so many calories per day; why not make them the best ones I can? This has tended to cut down on junk-food snacking (is a bag of tortilla chips really the best I can do?) and upped my home-cooking game. Nobody's perfect (Mmm, tortilla chips!) but the result has trended toward better, healthier, more satisfying eating.

Very glad to have you back in fighting and writing trim!